Developer Ordered to Pay $1Mln for Wildlife Violations

Alameda County developer James Tong, and his Wildlife Management firm will pay $1 million in restitution for securities fraud and wildlife violations, in a sentence handed down Friday by U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar.

In addition, Tong will provide a 107-acre conservation easement in Contra Costa County as part of the resolution of his guilty plea to criminal violation of the Endangered Species Act, growing out of his Dublin, Calif. area development plans.

Tong, 70, of Pleasanton, pleaded no contest to a separate forgery charge in state court earlier this year.

Tong admitted in the federal case that he directed grading activities at Dublin Ranch North without the city’s required mitigation measures.  The grading caused sediment to run off into a pond on an adjoining property, which provided habitat for the California Tiger Salamander, prosecutors said.

He agreed on January 8 to $700,000 in federal and state fines and set aside $330,000 to manage a 107-acre parcel in Contra Costa known as Brown Ranch.  The ranch provides habitat for endangered species.

Tong, as president of Wildlife Management, was required to mitigate for the loss of threatened or endangered species of habitats when a development project interferes.  Someone acting on behalf of Wildlife Management forged a $3.2 million mitigation receipt from the Ohlone Preserve Conservation Bank, intending to deceive the city of Dublin into believing the company had purchases the required mitigation credits, according to prosecutors.

Case: U.S. v. Tong, No. 15-cr-512


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